Why Women Should Make the First Move – and How to Do it Right

Why Women Should Make the First Move

Nearly a century since women gained the right to vote in the Western world, and many decades since the struggle for legal and social inequality began in earnest, many women are still behaving like Victorian maidens when it comes to dating. This is unfortunate, because In our experience, there is nothing to be gained by being passive in today’s dating environment.

With constantly shifting social mores and unprecedented choices available online, women can do a great deal to advance their love-lives by taking charge, taking a few well-considered risks, and becoming an active participant in the dating game.

A great many dating coaches and experts advise against women making the first move for a number of reasons, chief among them being that men seem to regard these women as “desperate” or somehow lower in value. While this is a possibility if done poorly, we believe that the rewards far outweigh the risks, if you  do it right.

Below are some reasons why it’s to a woman’s benefit to make the first move, and how to avoid coming across as aggressive, desperate, or somehow demented.

1. You might fall outside someone’s search results

This is one of the big problems in online dating. Search criteria can be somewhat arbitrary, and can easily cut out otherwise desirable prospects. If say, a 30-year-old man is looking for women in the 24-32-year-old range (pretty common), he might exclude a 33-year-old who is otherwise perfect for him. If he met that 33-year-old in person without knowing her age, it would never occur to him to turn her down on that basis.

Likewise, if you search by interests alone, you might also overlook some viable prospects. This is what happened to us. We didn’t have a single interest in common on paper, and we lived several thousand miles apart. We found each other through the forums on the dating site we were on (she sent the first message), and once we managed to meet, it was clear we were highly compatible. So, don’t decided whether or not you are attracted based on a profile alone. If a man seems interesting, even if you may not appear to have much in common, send him a message anyway. You never know how well you might click in person.

2. Body language doesn’t work online

While in a public setting, a woman can indicate interest in a number of ways without directly asking a guy out. Online however, there is no equivalent for eye contact, a flirtatious smile, or a dropped hanky. Some sites will give you the option of sending a “wink,” -use it! If you don’t have this option, don’t be afraid to send a short message saying hello. There’s no need to do more.

Again, in this situation, you might be outside his search criteria for whatever reason, or he might have overlooked your profile. Just letting him know you exist might be the start of something great.

3. You won’t be limited to only those who message you first

A pretty typical complaint found among women dating online is that they receive a lot of messages, but almost none from men they find attractive. If that’s the case, then it makes a lot of sense to start looking for profiles of men you might actually be interested in. Sure, some of them may not respond, but most men on dating sites aren’t used to receiving replies to their messages, let alone receiving an unsolicited one. You will definitely get his attention.

Everyone complains about not getting responses to their messages. Not all that you send out will be answered. Don’t take it personally. A profile, no matter how well-done, simply doesn’t provide enough information to determine real attraction. If someone isn’t interested in getting to know you better, that’s just part of the weeding-out process that everyone in the dating world has to undergo. Once you’ve sent out a message, forget about it and move on to the next prospect.

4. Some of the most attractive men don’t make the first move

Even though men as a group are the initiators online, there is a select group of guys who never send out a message. This is usually because they are too busy sorting through the ones they receive from interested women. A few of these men are simply very good-looking. But there are others who are attractive because they have created excellent profiles.

So few men write good profiles, that the ones who can create something witty and original really stand out. We even knew one guy who didn’t have a picture on his profile, but still got a lot of interest from women. The written part of it was simply that good.

Just as women mostly receive messages from men they don’t want to date, these men receive a lot of attention from women who don’t interest them. Since the majority of women don’t initiate in the first place, you’re already at an advantage if you are attractive, have a good profile and are willing to make the first move.

With all of this in mind, you might want to consider initiating when you see the profile of a man you find intriguing. Of course, you don’t want to come off as aggressive and desperate, but that’s usually easy to avoid.

Just keep in mind you are simply making the first move here; you aren’t going to pursue. Sending a brief, friendly message is the equivalent of playing with your hair and smiling coyly. It just lets the guy know you’re interested and that he’s free to approach you without fearing rejection.

Once you have sent your message, don’t do anything else. If you don’t hear anything, just forget about it. Don’t send any further messages, or try to find out why he’s not interested. If he does message you back, let him take the lead on arranging a get-together (unless you want to be the one in charge going forward). After that, it’s simply a matter of reciprocating.

Sometimes women who make the first move come across as desperate because they continue to barrage a man with calls and texts after he’s replied. If his interest seems lukewarm, back off. Some men will respond to a message simply because it’s an ego stroke, but you’ll suss them out quickly enough when they don’t take much further action.

Some dating coaches advise against making the first move because some men will regard those women as booty-call material. While some men may do this, it doesn’t change the fact that you are the one who gets to decide what you want from a relationship. If you are looking for something serious, and he just wants sex, you don’t have to give in just because you sent the first message. You are still completely at liberty to decide what does and doesn’t work for you.

As long as you aren’t pushy, making the first move online can be a great way to change the type of man you are meeting, as well as put yourself on the radar of some smart, articulate, high-quality guys. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

Doc and Aryanna Elffington are a couple who found love online over five years ago. We're sharing what we learned with those who are still looking for love. We offer balanced, straight-forward, no-nonsense dating and relationship advice for regular people. Thousands are meeting and falling in love online every day. We can help you join them. Visit our blog, The Elffington Post and check out our book Relationship Readiness

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